Public Policy and Advocacy

Nurses need to be active in influencing health policy, but sometimes don’t know how to get involved.

Becoming informed and developing advocacy skills are first steps. As students you can do both by participating in opportunities on campus and off.

Get Involved:

Local Opportunities

Maryland Action Coalition Summit

The Maryland Action Coalition (MDAC) serves as one of the driving forces for transforming state health care. Recognizing the important work already underway in Maryland and with a goal of improved health outcomes for its residents, the Maryland Action Coalition leads innovation in the health of the population through efforts that build and sustain a culture of health.

President's Panel on Politics and Policy Speaker Series

This speaker series examining issues important to the UMB community that are likely to be affected by the new presidential administration and the new Congress.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing Student Policy Summit

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) hosts its annual Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C., typically in March. The two-day conference is open to baccalaureate and graduate nursing students enrolled at an AACN member institution, and UMSON typically selects and sponsors several students from both the Baltimore and Universities at Shady Grove locations to attend. The application process is competitive and requires submission of an essay. The call for applications is promoted annually, usually in the fall, through The Elm.

Students who attend the summit are immersed in didactic program sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. They have the opportunity to engage directly with speakers, who are leaders in the policy arena; AACN staff; and U.S. representatives and senators. Participation in the summit offers students the tools to advocate for issues that truly matter to them, their patients, and their communities. Students can also meet, connect, and network with a diverse group of fellow nursing students from across the country.

Policy News

Utilize these resources to stay abreast of policy issues.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing

  • browse the government affairs section of their website
  • sign up for the Washington Weekly Newsletter and other updates

American Nurses Association

  • browse their health policy website
  • browse their advocacy website
  • sign up for Capitol Beat updates
  • sign up for RNAction updates

Commonwealth Foundation

  • browse the surveys, data, and publications on their website
  • sign up for their newsletters

Kaiser Health News

  • browse their website on health policy issues
  • sign up for daily First Edition and Morning Briefing emails

Kaiser Family Foundation

Health Affairs

  • browse their website
  • sign up for e-alerts, blogs, and newsletters

Additional Resources

I am interested to grow my career in the direction of public policy to protect and promote the health and safety of those most impacted by COVID-19 and the pandemic. I can continue my work in the field of health care with the lens of public policy and advocacy to help our community rise from the ashes which 2020 left behind. Erin Balkam, BSN student
My interest in health care policy and advocacy is closely tied to my work in mental health care and the challenges it encompasses. As both a community and inpatient health care worker, I saw firsthand not just the issues that spring from medical crises and housing instability, but also the barriers that poor and stigmatized groups must overcome to ensure their basic medical needs are met.  Karenina Anselmo, BSN student
At its core, policy is important to my practice because the truest form of preventative care is access to care. In advocacy, I have a unique position to present my patients and my own experiences in a way that identifies problems that legislation has overlooked or has not spent time on. Beyond that, I can help shape solutions that have reality in mind. Colleen Calpin, DNP Pediatric Nurse Practitioner - Primary Care student
A main objective in my career as a nurse practitioner will be to advocate for my patients in meaningful ways that lead to tangible changes. Health care policy and advocacy are critical to ensuring safe, adequate care for psychiatric patients in the emergency department, and I hope to continue to contribute toward this goal by becoming increasingly involved in health policy and advocacy. Dana Frank, DNP Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner – Family student
Presence and repetition are key to success in advocacy. I have seen good arguments delivered by reputable messengers carry the day over counterarguments backed by a bigger political action committee contribution. It will be crucial for the nursing profession to continue building its presence and raising its voice not just in the midst of an Affordable Care Act-sized effort, but many consequential out-of-the-headlines policy discussions as well. Josh Krantz, CNL student
Our health care system as we know it has been molded by people who have recognized problems and have been determined to solve them. Nurses have a frontline perspective of the health care system, and their voices are a crucial part in initiating effective changes. Nurses not only speak for themselves and their workplace, but also, they emphasize the voices of their patients. Jennifer Nonn, BSN student
In addition to the responsibility we have to our patients, we also have a responsibility to ourselves and our profession. With active involvement in health care policy, nurses can address issues such as nursing shortages, nurse-to-patient ratios, and safe working conditions. These issues have become even more evident in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ensuring that nurses have a seat at the table when these important decisions are being made is essential to ensuring nursing priorities and needs are considered and addressed by policymakers. Kristin Ploog, CNL student
It is important for nurses to be involved in policy and advocacy because we are stakeholders in health care policy. Nurses from various backgrounds should be involved in advocacy work because we all have very valuable insights that should be considered when advocating for change. Our stories and experiences can really captivate and open minds of those who make decisions that affect us and our patients. Wesleyan Smith, DNP Adult-Gerontology Acute Care NP/Adult-Gerontology CNS student